BCPL cel­e­brates read­ing, com­mu­nity with month-long ini­tia­tive

BC Reads kicks off on April 1

The Avenue News - - Relaxer - By NI­COLE ROD­MAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com

Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Li­brary (BCPL) is ring­ing in the spring with a new pro­gram de­signed to pro­mote read­ing and dis­cus­sion in com­mu­ni­ties across Bal­ti­more County.

BCReads, a county-wide ini­tia­tive, will kick off on April 1 and con­tinue through­out the month with a va­ri­ety of book chats, spe­cial speak­ers and fam­ily-friendly events.

The pur­pose of the event is to reach out to the wider com­mu­nity, pro­mot­ing lit­er­acy, dis­cus­sion and a deeper con­nec­tion with lo­cal li­braries.

While BCPL’s Sum­mer Read­ing Club has, for decades, reached out to younger read­ers, the new BC Reads ini­tia­tive aims to reach a wider au­di­ence.

Through­out the month, branches across the county — along with other county part­ners — will host events tied to this year’s theme — “Rise Up!”

The theme is in­tended to cel­e­brate sto­ries of ris­ing up through ad­ver­sity, learn­ing and grow­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to BCPL di­rec­tor Paula Miller, the theme was cho­sen, in part, as a re­ac­tion to the civil un­rest in Bal­ti­more and across the na­tion in the last year.

“This year we’re choos­ing the theme of ‘Rise Up!’ which re­flects a lit­tle bit what hap­pened last year at this time,” Miller ex­plained.

As part of the month-long ini­tia­tive, BCPL se­lected five books (two chil­dren’s books, a teen se­lec­tion and two adult picks) that em­body this theme. The books will be the sub­ject of group dis­cus­sions and most of the au­thors will ap­pear at lo­cal li­braries dur­ing the month.

The month will also in­clude film screen­ings, po­etry per­for­mances, a dis­cus­sion of African-Amer­i­can fa­ther­hood and sev­eral fam­ily events.

BC Reads, pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor Julie Bro­phy noted, “pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for con­ver­sa­tion … a dif­fer­ent way of look­ing at things and an op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with one another.”

While the theme speaks to the African-Amer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence, BCPL staff strove to choose books that are ac­ces­si­ble to au­di­ences of var­ied back­grounds.

“We wanted to try to find a way to re­flect the AfricanAmer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence, but we wanted to find books that speak to all of us,” Bro­phy said.

Books like the chil­dren’s se­lec­tion “In My Momma’s Kitchen,” she ex­plained, of­fer near-univer­sal themes that al­low most read­ers to re­flect on their own back­ground and ex­pe­ri­ences.

Through­out the month, BCPL will also be part­ner­ing with or­ga­ni­za­tions to bring pro­gram­ming to as many au­di­ences as pos­si­ble.

“That re­ally is a goal for BC Reads — to truly en­gage the county,” Miller said.

These part­ner­ships in­clude work with Tow­son and Steven­son univer­si­ties and the Regi­nald F. Lewis Mu­seum.

Through BC Reads, the Sum­mer Read­ing Club and other ini­tia­tives, BCPL seeks to reach out to the com­mu­nity it serves.

“We sort of see our­selves as an in­stru­ment of democ­racy,” Miller ex­plained, liken­ing the branches to a “vil­lage green” where com­mu­ni­ties can come to­gether, learn and share ideas.

BC Reads events at lo­cal branches in­clude the fol­low­ing pro­grams:

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